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Ex-Miss USA appears in Mich. court on DUI charge

•  Recent Cases     updated  2012/01/18 10:05


Former Miss USA Rima Fakih on Wednesday made an initial appearance in a Detroit-area courtroom in a drunken driving case that lawyers said could be resolved with a plea deal.

Judge Brigette Officer set a March 14 trial date, but lawyers on both sides said they planned to talk in an attempt to end the case sooner.

Fakih, 26, declined to answer reporters' questions after the hearing, which was held in the Detroit enclave of Highland Park.

"I apologize. My lawyer doesn't want me to talk."

Defense lawyer W. Otis Culpepper said he will prepare for a trial, but knows a plea bargain is possible. He said he anticipates that a "proper conclusion" will be reached.

"Of course she's remorseful," Culpepper said. "She's a model for young women. ... She's a woman of substantial character."

Before the hearing, assistant city attorney Mohammed A. Nasser told The Associated Press that he hadn't spoken to Culpepper about how they might resolve the case, and he told the judge a plea deal hadn't been offered.

Police said Fakih was driving 60 mph and weaving in and out of traffic without signaling when they pulled her over Dec. 3. Officers reported finding an open bottle of champagne on the floor behind the driver's seat of her 2011 Jaguar.

Fakih denied that she had been drinking, but one breath test put her blood alcohol content to be 0.20 percent and another put it slightly lower, but still above the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent.


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